World War III via Pacemakers

We're all smart enough to know the U.S. and the American way of life is under continuous threat by terrorist and underdog countries.  What we probably don't think about is ways those countries are fighting us on a regular basis.  It's not with bullets and bombs; it's with cyber crimes!  They have already stolen Federal employee information, including those employees' health records.  Foreign governments have incriminating evidence on many of these people's private lives. Do you remember the Allison Madison breach?  This is not information any senator wants as public knowledge.  But, what if the cyber criminals step up their game and could kill a million people in one day?  You might argue, that won't start a war, but remember, WWI started with a single assassination (and yes, a lot of tensions for years).

The ultimate strike of war and fear; kill a lot of citizens.  We know pacemakers can be hacked and controlled remotely.  There are actually various ways to do this.  Let's assume a foreign government decides to implement such a plan.  They lay the ground work, "infect" a large number of pacemakers, say over 1 million, and then they trigger these pacemakers to stop on the same day.  You've got a million patients needing immediate emergency room attention.  Many simply won't make it.  The news will go crazy over the story.  The offensive country will lay claim and most likely request the U.S. to concede in some way.

This is yet another scenario that can easily become reality.  The healthcare industry, including the medical device industry, needs to realize the responsibility it carries and start addressing cybersecurity at a much faster rate than they have in the past.  It's not just about cyber breaches and phishing campaigns, it's about people's financial lives, the cost to recover from identity theft, healthcare insurance not paying for care, and lastly, the potential for life threatening actions.

A simple first step in cyber breach protection is to harden your workstations, servers, and mobile devices.  Make sure they meet the NIST standard for cybersecurity.

Should you need help with taking this first step let us know, we're here to help.  compliance@thirdrock.com

Protect Your Patients.  Protect Your Practice.  Protect Yourself.™

Robert Felps
About the Author

Innovative problem solver. Robert Felps takes a holistic view of the situation, understanding the business objectives, then architects a solution that exceeds the expectations for much less than standard industry solutions would cost.

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